The UAE said yesterday it expected a surge in its economic and investment relations with its key trading partner India, following a six-day business trip by Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi.
More than 40 UAE officials and businessmen representing the Central Bank, as well as economic, trade, investment, industrial and tourism sectors accompanied Sheikha Lubna during last week's visit that covered four major Indian cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
"Participants said the tour will largely enhance contacts between the UAE and Indian companies, businessmen and investors, and will help transform investment opportunities in both countries into vital projects that will be of mutual benefit," the ministry said in a statement sent to Emirates Business.
The statement quoted Saeed Khammas, Vice-President of the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, as saying Sheikha Lubna and the 43-member delegation held talks on co-operation on various sectors, including creation of joint investment projects in both countries.
"He affirmed the positive results of the discussions made with their Indian counterparts. He also stressed the importance of focusing on India's huge market, which offers vast opportunities for UAE products."
Another official who participated in the visit, Abdullah Sultan Abdullah, Secretary-General of the federation, underlined the importance of such tours in promoting UAE businesses and establishing closer co-operation with foreign partners.
"The visit to India will help attract Indian investments into the UAE's various industries, especially into its non-oil sectors," he said.
Obaid Saeed Al Dhaheri, Director of International Affairs at Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge), said the trip provided a great opportunity for his government-controlled firm to introduce its products, strengthen its presence and propose partnerships in such a major market as India.
"The trip was a perfect platform for trade and investment enterprises from the UAE and India to interact, share their positive views, and discuss growth prospects between both countries," said Paras Shahdadpuri, President of Indian Business and Professional Council in Dubai, who accompanied the delegation.
Addressing Indian officials and businessmen during the visit, Sheikha Lubna urged the country, one of the fastest-growing economies, to boost its investments in the Emirates to take advantage of the UAE's strategic location, absence of taxes, cheap labour and massive energy resources.
She said India is already a major trading partner and a key investor in the UAE, with an estimated flow of $2.5 billion (Dh9.2bn) in 2007, nearly seven per cent of the total foreign direct investment in the UAE during that year.
She said the UAE economy had remained strong despite the global fiscal crisis and said it offered massive investment opportunities in the non-oil sector. "Indian and global companies can capitalise on the UAE's exceptional geographic location," she said.
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